Friday, July 27, 2007

Turkey on National Review Online

"The reality is that Turkish state and society are precariously balanced between three distinct visions: the aggressive chauvinism of its Kemalist founding; the Islamist ambitions of its resurgent religious consciousness; and the secularist ambitions of its burgeoning entrepreneurial and urban classes."

"Within days of the killings, anonymous Turks sympathizing with the murders were reportedly threatening media outlets in Ankara who dared report on the case."
Joshua Trevi�o on Turkey on National Review Online

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Iraqi Christians find sanctuary in Istanbul | Editor's Choice | Reuters

"Every Sunday the basement chapel of one of Istanbul's largest churches echoes to the sound of slow chanting in Aramaic, the ancient language spoken by Jesus.

The 300 worshippers, all Iraqi Christians, have come here to forget the Muslim sectarian violence that drove them from their war-ravaged homeland. Refugees, they pray for a swift onward passage."
Iraqi Christians find sanctuary in Istanbul | Editor's Choice | Reuters

Friday, July 20, 2007

Turkish Elections

Good summary of some of the issues for the election on Sunday:
Turkish Elections -

Upcoming Turkish elections send believers to their knees

Mission Network News


"A Turkish state prosecutor demanded acquittal yesterday for two Turkish Christians on trial for “insulting Turkishness” under the nation’s controversial Article 301.

State Prosecutor Ahmet Demirhuyuk told the Silivri Criminal Court on Wednesday (July 18) that there was “not a single concrete, credible piece of evidence” to support the accusations filed against Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal nine months ago."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Messages of tragedy, comedy during polls

"Habib Ekrem Celik, an evangelical protestant, decided to run after ultranationalists slaughtered three Christians, one of them a friend of his, at a missionary bookstore in April in the eastern city of Malatya.

The forty-something Celik says he wants to end prejudice against Christians converts in this 99-percent Muslim nation.

"They covered building facades around our church with Turkish flags to intimidate us," he said, "but, hey, brother, I'm a Turk too - I respect the flag."
IOL: Messages of tragedy, comedy during polls

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Faith Perfected

"Turkey has become more and more hostile to its tiny Christian minority. Though the nation is 99 percent Muslim, the government and media look at any activities of Christians with great suspicion. Last year, according to Compass Direct News, an Italian Catholic priest was shot to death while kneeling in his church in the Black Sea port of Trabzon. And in January, an ethnic Armenian Christian journalist was murdered in Istanbul."

"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived."

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
Faith Perfected | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

TURKEY: Dangerous consequences of intolerance of religious minorities

"A shadow still hangs over Turkey's non-Muslim religious minorities, following the brutal murder in April of three Protestants in the eastern town of Malatya. The murders have not so far produced any serious effort by the state to tackle the underlying causes of the murders. No effort has been made to tackle the xenophobia and hostility to religious minorities, which Turkish Protestants are convinced is a major factor in the murders. This official Turkish indifference looks bad to the outside world, notably to the European Union (EU).

Indeed, the situation for religious minorities is getting worse. Threats by telephone and in writing against churches, religious minority (eg. Armenian Apostolic) schools and individuals are mounting. Ethnic minorities – especially the Kurds – are also seeing rising numbers of threats. Public discussion is increasing over who should have the right to live in Turkey. Should the country only be the home of ethnic Turks?"
Forum 18 Search/Archive

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Protestants to Turks: 'Thank you' - Turkish Daily News Jul 06, 2007

"Europeans! Lament, as you should, the deaths of the Malatya martyrs – victims of a murderous fringe gang deserving neither the name “Turk” nor Muslim”
Protestants to Turks: 'Thank you' - Turkish Daily News Jul 06, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


"In a bizarre twist in the criminal prosecution of two Turkish Christians for “insulting Turkish identity,” an administrative district authority in Istanbul has ordered the converts from Islam fined for “illegal collection of funds.”

Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal, on trial for insulting Turkishness under the nation’s notorious Article 301, were summoned to Istanbul’s Beyoglu police headquarters on Sunday morning (July 1) just before church services began at the Taksim Protestant Church, where Tastan is a member."

"The two Christians were both presented with a separate “penalty” sheet from the security police division linked to the Beyoglu district, ordering each one to pay 600 Turkish lira (US$461) for breaking a civil law.

According to the one-page decisions, the two men were guilty of violating section 29 of civil administrative code 2860, which forbids the collection of money without official permission from local district authorities.

Evidence of the alleged misdemeanor, the forms noted, was in the hands of the gendarme headquarters in Silivri, 45 miles west of Istanbul, site of the two Christians’ trial. The men were shown no documents or alleged evidence of the accusations against them.

“What is this? Just more harassment,” Topal told Compass. Both he and Tastan have been subjected to surveillance and even secret filming by Turkish gendarme and police authorities over the past year.

“This is ridiculous,” the men’s attorney, Haydar Polat, told Compass today. “It has nothing whatever to do with the original case against my clients. Now we will have to open a case against this administrative order within 15 days, and it will take at least a year to get these unsubstantiated charges dropped.”

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ministry issues decree to protect minorities - Turkish Daily News Jun 30, 2007

"The Interior Ministry sent a decree to all governors' offices Thursday, noting that there was a rise in violence against religious minorities lately and asking them to protect non-Muslim groups.

In the decree, the ministry noted that Turkey's international standing suffered as a result of attacks against minority groups, asking governor's to increase security measures around places of worship for religious minorities."
Ministry issues decree to protect minorities - Turkish Daily News Jun 30, 2007

Turkish court rejects ecumenical status of Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarchate - International Herald Tribune

"A Turkish court on Tuesday ruled that the Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarch is not the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, and is only the head of the local Greek Orthodox community.

The court's decision, however, has no impact on his status outside Turkey. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is the internationally recognized spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox."
Turkish court rejects ecumenical status of Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarchate - International Herald Tribune